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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, for you ultra computer savvy people, I’m sure this is going to sound like a basic question. I am very comfortable around computers, but have never built one from scratch, thus the following question.


I want to replace the PIII, 1 Ghz processor and MB in my current HTPC with a new MB that will support a P4 Processor at 2.4 Ghz or faster. The current MB is an ATX configuration. Will I have to totally reinstall the operating system or will all I need to do is set the bios to support the new MB? The HTPC is using WinMe.


Reinstalling the operating system on the HTPC wouldn’t be a problem as I have a bare bones setup being used primarily for DVD playback. Later to be used for DVD and HD recording. The reason for more horsepower.


The operating system question becomes more important to me because I want to update my Dell 650 Mhz (everyday computer) with the MB and processor from the HTPC. The Dell has substantially more software and it would be a real hassle to reinstall that operating system and everything else.


Thank, Don
 

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Let me get this straight -- you are buying a new motherboard and processor for you HTPC and transferring your old ones to your everyday system. Both are running ME.


Make sure the power supply for the P4 system is P4 approved. Buy a new one if it isn't. Before you replace the motherboard, make sure you have all the jumpers for the case lights and power switch. Some boards are poorly labeled and require you to download the manual. Note that if you do not have the power switch jumper porperly installed, your ATX system will not power up.


Plug the HD into your new MB and boot up your system. Windows ME will auto reinstall all the necessary mobo drivers. If you haven't copied the Win9X directory from your install disk to your HD, make sure you have the install disk on hand, as you will constantly need to pull files off of it. You may need to manually install the NIC, video, modem, and sound drivers as well as any other added hardware. All in all, it pretty simple, but you'll be rebooting your system a dozen times before it's over.
 

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I'm not sure I'm ultra savy, but... my advice is to do a clean install each time you change the motherboard...


If you save an image of the hard disk of your Dell (just in case), and use the OS disk that came with it, you may be able to reinstall the OS and keep your applications as is, but I've had so-so results with this procedure under ME when I moved for an AMD to Intel board (XP is pretty good at just upgrading the OS to account for new motherboards and the OS upgrading tool is also quite good...still not as good as a clean install... XP also has some HTPC benefits such as the ability to work with files above 4GB, which comes handy with DVD editing and HDTV...)


Whatever you do, back up everything before...
 

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The only reason I'd do a fresh OS install is to get rid of ME.


I've had HD's with 98 that swapped between 4 mobo's without incident. If you go into safe mode, you'll see all the old drivers that were installed and you can get rid of them there. But I haven't seen them cause trouble.


The only other thing would be to update the mobo drivers (my friend swears by this). You should definitely download the most recent ones if you want to do that. But personally, I've never seen that being an issue either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the info.


Hanson:
Quote:
Let me get this straight -- you are buying a new motherboard and processor for you HTPC and transferring your old ones to your everyday system. Both are running ME.
Quote:
Make sure the power supply for the P4 system is P4 approved.
Basically: update HTPC MB and processor from P3 @ 1Ghz to P4 @2.4 ghz or faster. (Win ME)

Put HTPC MB and P3 @ 1ghz processor in my everyday 650 Mhz Dell. (Win98se)


It really looks like the safest way is to reinstall the Operating system from scratch. Ugh!


How will I know that the Power supply in my HTPC will support the new processor in the HTPC and going form 650 Mhz to 1 Ghz in the Dell? I looked at the Dell Power supply last night and Dell doesn't tell you much about the power supply. Just a Dell Part Number and some specs that I would need to take it out and get a magnifying glass to read the info.
 

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Chances are very good that your current power supplies are not Pentium 4 compatible, so buying a new power supply is probably a good idea.


Most Dell systems that I've seen (we have tons of them at the office) don't use a standard ATX form factor motherboard, so you may not be able to put the motherboard from your HTPC into your Dell system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
gsr,

Thanks for the power supply heads up. I did notice when I had the case open on the Dell Dimension XPS Tower (every day machine) the other night that the MB looked physically larger than the ATX board in my HTPC. Oh well, the best laid plans and all that.


I will probably update the power supply in the HTPC just to be on the safe side if and when I updrade to a new MB and P4.
 

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Quote:
It really looks like the safest way is to reinstall the Operating system from scratch. Ugh!
It's a lot of work (reinstall OS, reinstall programs, redo all system and program settings) for, IMO, little gain. Win9X OS's are pretty robust as far as transferring from one HD setup to another goes. If you're going to do a fresh install, at least get rid of ME and upgrade to XP. I'd even rather downgrade to Win 98se.
 

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Hanson is right, upgrading to XP a very good idea...


I used a dual ME/XP setup for a while, but, after the initial XP bugs were ironed out, I stopped using ME entirely (There are a few things you'll lose: namely the interlaced overlay with radeon cards, the ability to use VxD audio drivers... some old proggies might also not work under XP. All in all, the added stability, support, fast boot, improved support, ability to have very large files, etc. more than compensate IMO)
 

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Blow everything away and switch to XP on both systems, honestly you'll save yourself a lot of heartache that way.


I'd also like to add that with the affordable costs of cases and power supplies these days it may be easier to buy a new case with power supply. Generally you can get a half decent power supply and case for only 10-20$ more than just the power supply alone. That would be my recommendation anyways unless you want to go whole hoot on your power supply for your main system or you are really hung up on your Dell case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Some good comments, thanks.

Not really hung up on the Dell but I was hoping to upgrade both the Dell desktop and the HTPC without it being to expensive. At present there are 3 computers in my house. The main Dell (Win98se), my daughters Dell Inspiron laptop (WinMe) and the AVS HTPC (WinMe). Win ME has been very stable on my HTPC especially since I have the whole system pretty lean and mean. From cold to full boot up in about 18 seconds. I had considered upgrading to Win XP early this year. I had to reinstall the systems on the Laptop (had Win2k originally which sucked) and didn't support many games my daughter wanted to run. So I put WinMe on it. She has a lot of software including MS Office and it has been operating fine with no major problems. On the desktop Dell I reinstalled 98se for the first time in 2.5 years. It was just time. When I was looking into putting XP on all three machines it was looking to be real expensive even for the home version. Correct me if I'm wrong but with XP don't I have to buy and register a seperate OS for each computer?


I don't know if I want to go through getting all the proper drivers for XP for the HTPC and dealing with the inevitable setup and compatibility problems I'm sure I'll run into. It's operating flawlessly with the Radeon 7200, M-Audio 96/24, cybermedia Video input card and PowerStrip. With the new version of WinDVD Platinum and zoom player the DVD image sent to my G11 projector is really great. Better than my friends Dwin DLP and standalone high end DVD player. I would just like to have a little more horsepower down the road for future expansion.
 

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The nice thing about XP is that it supports a lot of existing hardware quite easily. I think you are one of the few people out there who has a few WinME systems running well, heck you're lucky enough to have one running well.


You're right about XP though, it can be an added expense but as far as OS goes it is incredibly solid, stable and works great with current (and legacy) hardware and software.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by gsr
Chances are very good that your current power supplies are not Pentium 4 compatible, so buying a new power supply is probably a good idea.


Most Dell systems that I've seen (we have tons of them at the office) don't use a standard ATX form factor motherboard, so you may not be able to put the motherboard from your HTPC into your Dell system.
This is true - I've had a couple of Dell's (the last one being an XPS R450) and the Dell cases/powersupplies have non-standard motherboard power supply and on/off/reset button connectors, so you can't just drop in another MB. Also, the PS will not be P4 compatible (I think it's less than 300W).


If you do get a new case and powersupply, a relatively inexpensive and quiet option would be the Antec Sonata ( SilentPCReview.com - Antec Sonata Review .
 

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Originally posted by anderdea
Some good comments, thanks.

Not really hung up on the Dell but I was hoping to upgrade both the Dell desktop and the HTPC without it being to expensive. At present there are 3 computers in my house. The main Dell (Win98se), my daughters Dell Inspiron laptop (WinMe) and the AVS HTPC (WinMe). Win ME has been very stable on my HTPC especially since I have the whole system pretty lean and mean. From cold to full boot up in about 18 seconds.
Like Cowtown said you must be one of the miraculous few that have WinME running with no problems. I'm glad to hear it's working for you, but it really is carp as far as operating systems go in my opinion. I'm surprised that Win2k wasn't working for you because I'm a heavy gamer and used Win2k exclusively with no problems until WinXP came out. WinXP boots very fast for me too so I don't think you would have an issue with that.

Quote:
When I was looking into putting XP on all three machines it was looking to be real expensive even for the home version. Correct me if I'm wrong but with XP don't I have to buy and register a seperate OS for each computer?
Actually, you do have to buy a copy for every machine. You have to do this with WinME also if you want it to be legal.


Tim
 

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Actually, you do have to buy a copy for every machine. You have to do this with WinME also if you want it to be legal.
That's always the catch isn't it? :D
 
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